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Archive for April, 2010

How to Determine Metals Emissions by EPA Method 29

Monday, April 26th, 2010

By Ed Wallace, Project Chemist, Kelso, WAEPA Method 29

EPA Method 29 measures hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from stationary sources for mercury and other metals. The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires all major sources to meet HAP emission standards reflecting the application of maximum achievable control technology (MACT). These sources include industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers and process heaters. The other metals to be tested are antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, manganese, nickel, phosphorus, selenium, thallium and zinc.

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Nitrogen Dioxide Standard Released by EPA

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Nitrogen-Dioxide-Public-Health EPA released a new National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in January. This new one-hour standard is aimed to protect public health from peak short-term exposures, especially along busy city streets and highways where NO2 exposure is the most likely. According to the EPA, NO2 exposure has been linked to impaired lung function and increased respiratory infections, especially in people with asthma.

NO2 is one of a group of highly reactive gasses. It forms quickly from emissions from cars, trucks, buses, power plants, and off-road equipment. In addition, NO2 contributes to the development of ground-level ozone and fine particle pollution.

Read more about the nitrogen dioxide standard…

Emerging Contaminants in Your Drinking Water

Monday, April 12th, 2010

By Chris Leaf, Project Chemist, Kelso, WA

Drinking WaterImagine turning on a faucet to get a glass of water and discovering that perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, methyl tert-butyl ether, or chloromethane has flowed into your glass. These chemical compounds represent real threats to the public and are present in many public water supplies today.

In September of 2009, the EPA finalized its Contaminant Candidate List 3 (CCL3), comprised of 116 drinking water contaminants. These contaminants have already been discovered in public water systems or pose the risk of existing in public water supplies. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the EPA is required to evaluate and determine whether to regulate at least five contaminants from the CCL every five years. The EPA decides if regulations will be required based on the following criteria1:

  • The contaminant may have an adverse effect on the health of persons.
  • The contaminant is known to occur, or there is a great likelihood that the contaminant will occur in public water supplies with a frequency and at levels of public health concern.
  • In the sole judgment of the EPA Administrator, regulation of the contaminant presents a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public water systems.

Read more about emerging contaminants and health risks…

How a Laboratory Can Help You Identify Problem Chinese Drywall

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

by Alyson Fortune, Air Quality Scientist; Michael Tuday, Director of R&D; Nicole Pannone, Air Service Specialist

Identify Problem Chinese Drywall

For the past four years, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has been receiving complaints from homeowners regarding corrosion and odors in their homes linked to imported drywall. The problem drywall, which was installed in homes between 2004 and 2007 and is commonly referred to as “Chinese drywall,” has resulted in more than 2,500 complaints to the CPSC. The complaints originated from homeowners primarily in the southeastern part of the United States, but have since been reported throughout the country.

Homeowners have linked their Chinese drywall to corrosion in their air conditioner coils, corrosion in copper wiring, and emission of foul odors. The odors have been described as smelling like rotten eggs, burnt matches, and other sulfurous smells.

Chinese Drywall Columbia Analytical has been studying this issue and testing both foreign and domestic drywall samples since February 2008. Laboratory tests have been developed to aid in the identification of defective drywall products. These tests may be used to verify visual home inspections and determine if corrosion effects are from drywall and not from other household items, such as carpets, cleaners, paints, or personal care products.

This article presents a chronology of how Columbia Analytical established their test methods for determining problem drywall and how each of the issues that arose was resolved with a laboratory solution.

See Chinese drywall lab tests and results…